Monday, January 26, 2009

No use crying over Vitamin D...

Early last week I needed to make a quick trip to the grocery store before going in to work. I'm the TP and Paper towel purchaser at work this time and we were low. While at the store, I thought it would be a good idea to grab the few things that we needed for home to save myself another trip, and I had a few minutes to do so. After all, I just needed some basics - bread, 1%milk, eggs, baby food, and the TP for work. I buzzed through the store and saw an old neighbor in the checkout line... it always amazes me that I see people I know in the city. There are so many people who live here and I happen on the ones I know. My mom is the same way. So, I separate the perishables into one bag and of course there was a by-one-get-one sale on the 18 pack of eggs so I've got 34 eggs to deal with, a gallon of milk, a bags of jars of baby food and the big 24 pack of TP. I get it all to the car, get to the work parking lot, back up the car to a snow bank and get out. Oops. I can't get the trunk open because I backed into the snow bank-- I have to do that so the other cars can all fit in the lot. So instead of using the key, I pop the trunk. I get everything out that can't last in the trunk-- it is winter but I don't trust it to stay cold enough to not spoil my milk. How cold is a refrigerator anyway? Hmmm... I get a grip on the the stuff, and my lunch, my purse, and my daily planner/organizer. That's a lot of stuff. Hope I can make it. It's only a block but this gallon of milk is heavy. Seeing that I'm impatient, there is no way I'm going to make 2 trips for this stuff. That's just silly. I tighten my grip and am off to work. I have to cross the street at a busy intersection and then walk 3/4 of a block. Not even a long block mind you.

As I'm waiting at the light, things start to feel heavy. Of course, I have to wait for the whole period of the light as I've just missed it. I set things down and tighten my grip. Green. I start across the 4 lanes of traffic and get about halfway when the egg bag handles feel like they are thinning. Serves me right for not remembering to use my reusable shopping bags. I decide to hurry to the little island that the streetlight is on carving out a turn lane for oncoming traffic. I set everything down to get a better grip and take a step off the island only to narrowly miss being run over by a speeding mini van by about 3 feet. Luckily I didn't drop the eggs. I'm a quarter of the way down the block when my grip starts slipping again. I move the gallon of milk under my left arm and try that for a bit. I make it to the alley, which is the 2/3rds point in the block and my path is hindered by a large moving van loading or unloading stuff from one of the local galleries. I have to put everything down, re grip, and meander around the back of the truck, into the street, and back to the sidewalk. I'm about 10 feet from the front of my building, still struggling with all of this stuff when I see someone walking by the front door. "Oh, wouldn't it be nice if he's going into my building and would hold the door for me?" Of course, while I'm thinking that, he walks into the building and the door closes behind him. And then it happens.

The gallon of milk under my arm slips. It's plastic. It will be fine right?


The gallon of milk busted open. Milk started bubbling out of it and spewing onto the sidewalk. I don't think anyone saw it happen, but a few people were around afterwards to look at me and wonder what I was doing with a broken Milk jug. It's still in the plastic bag they wrapped it in at the store -- which I find to be a silly waste of plastic bags but I wasn't paying enough attention at the store to do my civic duty of asking for it without the bag. I quickly set everything down again, move the gushing gallon and it's bag closer to the sidewalk, return to pick up all of my stuff and go up to my office. Once inside, I drop everything off, put my perishables in the fridge and head back downstairs to move the milk jug to the trash can on the corner.

The silver lining of it all was that not only was the milk gallon that I broke Vitamin D when I actually needed 1%, it was also on sale for $.99. A virtual steal! With that, I was able to go back after work and replace that milk jug and get the 1% I really needed, along with Chick peas and Orzo rice that I forget to get in my morning trip.

Moral of the story: Sometimes you just have to roll with it. Juggling kids and all of life's other tasks isn't always easy, but it all works out in the end. And there really is no use crying over spilled milk.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


What do you do when someone is willing to watch your child for a whole week?

Uh... that's not a hard question. You take them up on it of course!

Rick's mom and dad had the week of New Year's off from work and offered to spend it with Ada since our nanny was on vacation too. Rick and I had to work and were eager to take a break from diapering and feeding and all that baby stuff. And I needed a Mom-cation.

Talk about weird. Not only is a Mom-cation fun, nice, and relaxing, it is also lonely, worrisome, sad, and empty. We tried to sleep in and made it until 9 at best. Our bodies aren't made to do that anymore. We spent most of the time making shelves for the basement (see previous post). That wasn't very relaxing, but it also didn't smell like poop. We got to catch up on the laundry since we didn't have four loads of diapers and baby clothes to do. Oh, I got to ride in the front passenger seat of the car for the first time in months (I usually sit in back with Ada). And the highlight was that we went to brunch together at a local diner, and we went to dinner and a movie! Too bad we were tired by the time we got home at 10 and went straight to bed. It was nice knowing we could have stayed out until all hours of the night without a curfew. It was also nice not having to rush home at the end of the work day to relieve the nanny.

It wasn't as nice knowing that Ada was sick and wasn't drinking milk and wasn't eating well and was fussy and all that. I felt like a negligent mother. And it was sad every time I thought about coming home to a smiling hug-muffin, knowing she wasn't there to greet me. It's tough to adjust to that. And it's really weird going to the grocery store and not wanting to take every kid home with you that you see. Know I know why people steal kids. Not because they are trying to be mean, awful people. It's really just because kids are so dang cute that you just want to smother them with love and eat them. Weird. I know. Needless to say, we couldn't leave early enough on the day we went to pick her up. And I couldn't get enough cuddle time with her when we finally got to grandma's house. It was great to have her back.

Moral of the story: Mom-cations can be good and refreshing but I think you have to do them more often in order to get comfortable with the idea and make it easier. Just remember to take time to enjoy your "time off".

Monday, January 19, 2009

Knocking on Daddy's Door

Another video to make you chuckle... Rick took a shower and Ada thought it would be funny to use the bathroom door as a drum. He drummed back to confuse her. Sorry it's sideways...

Mouth Flap

It's been awhile since I've posted any video of the munchkin so here's her little mouth flap. Not her best work but still entertaining.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

There will be blood...

Although I haven't seen the movie yet, I know that when it comes to having kids, there will be a point in time when something starts to bleed. It's just something you have to be ready for.

Last weekend, our neighbor Kelly had a little get together at her place. Being the good neighbors that we are, I stopped up to loan her a board game. Her boyfriend offered me a glass of wine which turned into another and another. Rick joined me. We stayed for dinner and another drink. At 1:20 in the morning Rick and I finally realized that we had been drinking for several hours and it was time to go to bed. We are too old for this stuff. Before tucking in for the night, I put a little wish out into the world in hopes that Ada would be a good girl and sleep in for loopy mommy and daddy. Too bad she didn't have her wish catcher on that night. She woke up at 5:15 with her lungs on full force and her voice at maximum volume -- or so it seemed from the inside of my hangover.

My mom always tells the story of how she decided it wasn't worthwhile to drink once she had kids. She went out and had a couple of drinks and then had to come home and change a diaper while slightly intoxicated. "Never again." is how she put it. I have to agree with her on this one. The older I get, the less I want to drink and the more frequently I hear myself saying, "I'm done. I'm never going to drink again. It isn't worth it." I don't know what it is but I'm not a good drinker. I don't have a high tolerance, or any tolerance really. I don't like beer. I never feel that great after more than 2 or 3 glasses of wine. And I tend to forget "when to say when" if I'm drinking mixed beverages. One chocolate martini is so good that "no one can eat just one" right? It's the potato chip theory of drinking. It doesn't happen often but when it does, I die for a day and come back chanting "I'm never drinking again." It's that bad.

So here we are. Hung over. Tired. Feeling the effects of almost turning 30. And Ada decides to get up at 5:15. What luck! Rick was a gem and took the first shift. I think that got me to 7 am maybe. Then it was my turn. I decided Ada could have a play date with herself in her room while I hid under a big pillow and blanket on her floor. I sacrificed myself as a human jungle gym and tried to stay somewhat coherent in order to keep her safe. She managed to knock the garbage can over a few times but other than that, my plan was working beautifully until... WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! She burst into hysterical screams. I instinctively jump up to see what's going on and see that she has a little bit of blood in her mouth. Instantly I think, "What have I done? I'm such a bad mom". I'm trying to assess the situation as my head is throbbing and she's screaming and I'm yelling for Rick in my "get your ass in here right now" tone of voice. He's slow moving as he had a few adult beverages the night before as well. After a few minutes of calming Ada down and trying to see what's bleeding, and calming myself down as the adrenaline and alcohol remnants are having a major war throughout my system, we realize that she has just nicked her frenulum between her upper teeth and upper lip. It wasn't a lot of blood and it had already stopped within a couple of minutes but it was still enough to freak the crap out of us. I guess that's one way to make your parents wake up when they want to sleep in. Very effective.

Moral of the story: Don't drink. Don't let you kid play with a stupid construction cone your dad gets from a work conference as it might have sharp edges. And don't panic if you see a little blood. Take a deep breath. Stay calm. And try to do what's best for your baby. Then have a drink to settle your nerves...just kidding.

Baby Storage

As I may have mentioned before, we have a lot of stuff now that we have a baby. And most of it only gets used for a few months. So what do you do with it until you are done having kids? Well, you could give it away and start over with each kid, or you can store it. With space being such a limited commodity here in the city, I'm not sure how much stuff the average family actually stores. Lucky for us, we have not one but two, big storage rooms in the basement of our building that we have been able to stuff all of Ada's clothes, toys, bouncy seats and various other accessories, into. After a year of shoving stuff into the storage room, I finally hit my limit of unorganized chaos in the basement and decided it was time to do something about the accumulation of stuff. No, I didn't get rid of it. Instead, I begged Rick to build shelving so that I could store more of it.

What seemed like a good idea that would be a quick little one day hammer and nail festival, turned into a 3 day construction site in the basement.

We arranged for Rick's mom to watch Ada for a day so that we could get the shelves built. We got up early, Rick drew up the plans for the shelves, measured the space, calculated the amount of wood we'd need, and the supplies it would take. Then we looked at the clock and it was noon. My how time flies when you are trying to get something done in a day. Rick realized that we couldn't fit all of that wood in our little civic. So, who do we know that has a car big enough? Lisa? She has an SUV, but I think she just downsized and she isn't answering her phone. Anne? Oh yeah, she has a CRV. "Anne, can we borrow your car?" "Sure."

We spent an hour going up to get Anne's little CRV, the baby of all SUVs mind you, and coming back. We drove straight to Home Depot. Rick found the wood. I found the hardware and the saw. 2 hours later, we had purchased the wood and were trying to load it into the CRV when it started to rain. How nice. As we were standing in the rain with the back of the car open and the wood on a trolley, the Home Depot guy looked at us, pulled out his measuring tape and held back a belly laugh. There was no way on earth that we could get even one sheet of the plywood into the CRV. We were going to have to rent the Home Depot truck after all.

Rick joined the Home Depot guy in moving the wood and the truck to a lower level of the parking garage to get out of the rain. Yes, our Home Depot is on multiple levels here in the city and is attached to a parking garage. While they were loading the truck, I was busy filling out the rental paperwork and calling my awesome insurance agent to have him fax our proof of auto insurance to the store as Rick and I didn't have our insurance card on us and we were driving Anne's car. Luckily, he happened to be in his office on a Saturday afternoon and was able to fax it over. I got the keys and Rick made a call to our neighbor Lee to see if he was home. After all, how else are we supposed to unload all of this wood?

We arrived home and pulled the truck into the back alley. The hope was to back it into the lot behind our place and unload it all nice and easy. Unfortunately, the previous snowfall had turned into patches of ice and was covered with puddles of water since it was raining. We did our best to get the truck into the lot but, it was still hanging out into the alley by a couple of feet, making it impossible for a car to get down the alley. But if we backed it in any further, we'd have taken out one of the buildings on either side as it was extremely slick.

Lucky for us, again, Lee was home and offered to put on his rain boots and help us unload the wood into the basement. 45 minutes later, we returned the truck to Home Depot, and thanked Lee. Now we had to get the car back to Anne. There goes another hour. It's 5 pm. We ordered dinner for pick-up. Came home, ate it, and called it a night.

Day 1 - we got the wood.

As it turns out, no home improvement project will take less time than you think. No project will take the amount of time that you think if you are an optimist of any sort. And most projects you undertake will take significantly longer than you expect. In our case, it took 3 days. 3 days of hard labor and finally, we had our shelving units.

And don't they look great?

Now I can finally find things in the basement. I don't have to worry about a potential flood ruining all of our stuff. I don't have to worry about a tower of bins toppling over on me when I need to get at something down there. And I don't have to get rid of any of Ada stuff so that any future additions to our family will be all set -- unless we have a boy and then he might just have to learn to like pink.

Moral of the story: Everything takes longer when you have kids. Just allow yourself more time for it all.

The Whole Cow

Now that Ada is one, we've made the switch to Whole Milk also known as Whole Cow's Milk and, unbeknownst to me, officially called Vitamin D Milk. Here I am in the store looking for "Whole Milk" to appear on the label and it's nowhere to be found. Rick told me that Vitamin D Milk really is whole milk since it isn't skim, half and half, 1%, 2%, heavy whipping cream or anything else cow related. His logic is sound so I trust him on this one, but secretly, I still wonder if there isn't some magic milk jug somewhere labeled Whole Milk for blondes like me.

The good news is that Ada loves whole milk. The bad news is that right after we made the switch and I weened her off breastmilk and nursing, she got an awful cough/cold/upset stomach bug over the holidays that made her a little mess of a toddler-- oh yeah, she's a "toddler" now. So we spent most of the holidays with her asleep on my chest, not eating or drinking much of anything, and throwing up what she did eat and drink. At one point I came up with this theory that she might be allergic to the Whole Milk and that's what was causing her to vomit. So we would have put her back on formula, but we ran out as we had planned to use it up over the holidays. Silly and frugal me chose a generic formula and also bought it from a local grocery store that we don't have back home. The closest Dominick's was a half hour away and the snowstorms this season were unrelenting, making a trip to neighboring St. Charles unlikely. In my infinite wisdom, we switched her to Soy milk for a day. I sent Rick to the store to get soy milk and he came back with a $5 bottle of Enfamil Soy Baby Formula. He wasn't happy when I told him he clearly didn't understand what I said because I wanted soy milk, not formula. Poor guy got nailed by a torrential downpour as soon as he left to go to the store for it too. Here we are, packing the car, ready to leave Ada with Grandma Ba for 5 days, Ada's sick, she isn't keeping milk of any kind down, the weather is awful, and I'm just trying to get her some soy milk. Luckily, my dad offered to go buy some soy milk while Rick finished packing the car in the nasty rain and I dealt with poor, sad, pathetic, unhappy, sick Ada.

Finally, we tried to soy milk and left her with it for her vacation with Grandma. Grandma decided later that night that it probably wasn't the Vitamin D Whole Milk or the Soy Milk but the fact that she was so congested that any milk would make her spit up. So Ada went off milk for 4 or 5 days. She had some watered down apple juice and bland food. I was sure she wouldn't possibly be able to survive without milk for 5 days, but she did. And she's fine. And on the 5th day, she drank 15 ounces or more. And then about 20 ounces a day ever since. Go figure.

Hopefully next year will be better and cootie-free.

Moral of the story: Whole Milk comes from purple cows in the Amazon rainforest. It's imported through the Panama Pipeline and bottled by little elves who live in a tree house in Jersey. To keep everyone guessing, the elves are paid to re-label the milk jugs as Vitamin D milk and pretend it comes from Cows in Wisconsin. Don't let them fool you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finally, A New Post!

Sorry to all my loyal readers... I've been busy having a life so that I would have more topics to write about. I have a backlog of about 10 blogs to write and post. Bear with me. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. Just been busy with a sick Ada over the holidays (she's better now, thanks) and getting back into the swing of things.

Get ready for a barrage of blogs.

:) ay

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Baby tag team

One thing I didn't really ever think about before having Ada was what to do if something happened where one of us needed our spouse to get us out of a pickle. Now I know. You become more resourceful and figure it out on your own.

A few weeks ago it was really cold here in Chicago. I mean REALLY COLD. So cold the penguins at the zoo were cuddling up to their space heaters, cold. The newscasters kept advising people to stay inside, keep warm, help your neighbors, yada, yada, yada. I wasn't excited about going out in the cold but I had scheduled a massage and was desperate to give my body a break and rebalance from carrying Ada everywhere -- another thing I never really considered too thoroughly before having a baby...

So I'm getting ready to go get my massage. I convinced Rick it was his turn to clean the snow off the car. Then I go out and get it started. I thought he was going to start it but he didn't want it to run for too long so he waited for me and, whatever, I got it started. I know darn good and well that you are supposed to let it run for several minutes to heat up but I was in a hurry darn it and only let it heat up for 3 to 5 minutes. I'm impatient. What can I say? Three minutes was an eternity for me. Did I mention how cold it was? And I still had to stop at the bank to get cash before my appointment.

I parked in a temporary loading zone in front of the bank, turned on my flashers, sprinted to the ATM, got cash, and sprinted back to the car. Someone was waiting for me to pull out of the spot and I was trying to hurry, as I always do, but when I tried to start the car, I got a sad, pathetic sound from the engine as it attempted to turn over.

Pre-Ada, I would have called Rick, he would have come to save me and I would have spent the time he took to fix the car either shopping or in a coffee shop having a hot coco to warm up. Post-Ada, I had to figure this out and fix it myself. Luckily, I carry jumper cables, am cute, and play a good damsel in distress. That and I tend to think I'm resourceful. Thankfully my cell phone worked and I was wearing two pair of socks.

What does one do in the city in this case? I for one, wasn't quite sure. Back home, I'd call my dad, he'd come get me, we'd call an auto shop, ta da, fixed. In the city, it's different. I called Rick and he wasn't much help. Jump it or tow it was the jist of his advice. He was stuck home with Ada and wasn't about to take her out in the cold to help me. And I don't blame him one bit. I started by having him contact my masseuse to cancel my appointment since resourceful me couldn't find her number in my cell phone. Then I opened the hood and tried to look pathetic. It didn't work. I tried 311 but there was a 1 minute wait and, you know me, I'm impatient and it was really cold outside so I hung up. I did get the jumper cables out of the trunk and I even got the manual out to see what proper technique is for jump starting one's battery. It said I shouldn't try it in this cold of weather because it might rupture the battery. Uh oh.

Who do I know that's a mechanic? Oh, my sister-in-law's boyfriend to the rescue. Matt answered and told me to go ahead and jump it. It will either start or it won't. Problem was getting someone to jump me in this cold weather. I asked 2 cabbies. They denied me. I looked pathetic and helpless. That failed. Oh, it did get a drunk homeless guy carrying a 40 oz in a paper bag to offer to help, but without a car he wasn't of much use. Then I called my friend Bob and put him on notice that I might need him to jump me or rescue me but only if I was really desperate as he lived 15 minutes from where I was and I thought it would be mean to make him come out for this. I told him I'd call him in a few minutes to let him know how it was going. He recommended I call our friend Ted who lives just blocks from where I was but Ted didn't answer his cell in my time of need. Gasp. Then a city police officer(ette) was sitting at a red light across the street and just shook her head at me saying, "sorry, can't help you." So much for " to serve and protect". I was on my own this time.

I was calling Bob back when, to my surprise, a woman pulled over and asked if I needed a jump. She offered me one of those jump-start battery kits from her trunk and it worked. Thank goodness. She's an angel. I promised to pay it forward and drove the car straight home.

Thankfully, I got the car home. Unfortunately, it didn't start the next morning and we ended up having to jump it again to get it to the dealership to get a new battery. Jumping it the second time was easier as I bribed my friend Anne with a burrito from Ceasar's. While we were jumping it, another one of Chicago's finest drove by in a squad car and made sure to point out that we were idiots because Anne didn't have her blinkers on. Then he sped away and spun his tires on the snow. Macho.

It could have been much worse, and much more impossible without the kindness of strangers and good friends in the city.

Moral of the story: Always have friends in the city and faith in the goodness of total strangers...oh, and it helps to have a mechanic friend on speed dial.

Ada's Favorite Things

Move over Oprah... it's time for Ada's favorite things.

Topping the list in at number one is dear old dad because he tickles her and is too much fun.

In second (because I've stopped nursing her recently) is super mom.

Coming in at third, well, I could list every relative she's ever had and some that are pseudo relatives that we've adopted because they are so cool, but we'll move on to the fun stuff and skip the fluff. Just know that she loves you all.

So now that we've got that out of the no real order from this point on...
4. Sweet Potatoes, Bananas and Pears seem to be her favorite foods, but she eats most things without complaint. Milk is at the top of the list too.
5. Crawling around the house with a sock in one hand. She has no preference for the state of the sock: clean or dirty.
6. Being outside. She can't get enough. I fear teaching her the sign for "outside" as that's all she'll ever tell me. Then she'll learn the word and we'll be living in a tent on the beach.
7. Naked baby time. And really, who doesn't like to run around naked in the privacy of their own home? Brad Pitt does.
8. Being upside down. I'm sure this will lead to endless hours rolling down hillsides and making herself so dizzy she falls over.
9. Eating shoes. Doesn't matter what size, who they belong to, or where they have been. If we leave them by the door, she'll find a way to get them into her mouth.
10. Watching the washing machine spin. The front loading machine can mesmerize even the strongest willed adults. It just sucks you in, I swear.
11. Baths. Something about being in the bathtub--oh, she's naked. That must be it.
12. Bouncing.
13. Listening to music.
14. Dancing. She's got more rhythm than her father, thank God.
15. Ripping paper. She's great at tearing junk mail into pieces before I recycle it.
16. Human jungle gyms. I've become quite good at being crawled on, pushed, pulled, and made into something to hang, swing, and balance on.
17. Eating cell phones, and hanging up when mommy's been on hold for 10 minutes with someone from technical support. This is not something we encourage.
18. Dad's watch.
19. Pulling mom's hair.
20. Giving hugs. Getting hugs.
21. Riding on Dad's shoulders.
22. Grabbing Mom's notebook and pen, then trying to rip out pages.
23. Standing 6 inches in front of the TV and touching the screen while absorbing Baby Einstein DVDs (it's like crack for babies).
24. Chewing. On everything. And I do mean everything.
25. Seeing pictures of herself.
26. Throwing food on the floor while she eats.
27. Wiping her own face with a wet washcloth.
28. Banging things together.
29. Kisses. Getting and giving them, typically open mouth kisses on your cheek.
30. Monkey the stuffed animal. Especially when he dances at the breakfast table.
31. Clapping. Her hands and helping you clap too.
32. Dogs and cats.
33. Books. Typically her size and not claiming to be true stories that are really made up with false details -- thanks Oprah.
34. Playdates with other kids her age, especially Eva, Aaron, Isabella, and cousin Anna.
35. The dishwasher. She loves rolling the racks back and forth.

Things Ada dislikes...
1. Taking naps
2. Bedtime, occasionally.
3. Diaper changes.
4. Having her nails clipped.
5. Mom picking her nose. (Not my nose, Ada's nose silly!)
6. Having her nose aspirated to get the snot out.
7. Dogs that bark while she is sleeping. Who wouldn't hate that?
8. Wearing hats and gloves.
9. Cows that moo. Who could have seen that one coming?
10. Vacuum cleaners and dustbusters. Too loud and scary.

Eat your heart out Oprah... or better yet, don't. That probably isn't part of your new diet anyway.
May the new year be filled with your favorite things, and light on the not-so-favorite things.